On Sunday, June 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a first-of-its-kind event by lighting the Chess Olympiad torch relay in Chennai. The Chess Olympiad Torch, which is a part of Olympic tradition but has never been done in the Chess Olympiad, was introduced this year for the first time by the International Chess Organization, FIDE. The Chess Olympiad Torch Relay was held for the first time in India.
Notably, taking the Indian roots of Chess to a greater height, this tradition of Torch Relay for the Chess Olympiad will henceforth always begin in India and travel across all continents before reaching the host country, said an official release.
Before Sports Minister Anurag Thakur took the stage, the opening ceremony highlighted the vasudhaiva kutumbakam principles of India. The first-ever torch relay for the Chess Olympiad would start in India, according to the former BCCI president, who deemed this to be very promising.
FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in turn handed it over to Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand.
Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister of India said that India was proud that a sport with Indian roots has gone abroad and has made its mark across the world. He further added that in the era of the internet, chess is still being celebrated by many across the world.
This torch will then be taken to 75 cities in a span of 40 days before the final culmination at Mahabalipuram near Chennai. At every location, chess grandmasters of the state will receive the torch.
“Chess was present in its earliest form as Chaturanga in India and it is a matter of pride that the first Torch Relay will happen from India.”
He expressed thanks to FIDE for their role in this process and said that whoever won the tournament, it would be a win for the sport itself.
He delved into a history lesson a little, narrating that the forefathers in India created games like Chaturanga to keep their brains sharp and in the modern world, kids are growing up to be problem solvers after playing the game of chess since childhood. The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from July 28 to August 10, 2022. The prestigious competition, which has been organised since 1927, is being hosted in India for the first time and in Asia after 30 years.
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